Tesla’s solar division to be responsible for Supercharger charging network

Tesla is said to have transferred responsibility for the Supercharger charging network to its team responsible for the solar and battery storage business. An agency report reconstructs how the dismissal of Tesla's Supercharger team came about - and what is likely to happen now.

Image: Tesla

A new Reuters article sheds some light on the chaos surrounding the layoffs and rehiring in Tesla’s Supercharger section. According to the report, which cites statements from a number of former employees of the team, former Supercharger boss Rebecca Tinucci had laid off around 15 to 20 per cent of her employees after being asked to do so by management, but this was not enough for Tesla CEO Elon Musk. According to Reuters, Musk was not satisfied with Tinucci’s presentation and wanted further staff cuts. When she balked and said that further cuts would jeopardise the foundations of the charging business, he responded by dismissing her and her entire 500-strong team.

According to Reuters, Tesla’s energy team, which sells solar and battery storage products for homes and businesses, was subsequently tasked with taking over the Supercharger business. However, this team is already overloaded with its current tasks.

Despite the mass layoffs, Musk has since promised on social media to continue expanding the network: According to a social media post published by Musk at the beginning of May, the expansion is continuing at a slower pace and existing sites are to be given greater focus. Recently, however, he added a new twist, stating that “thousands” of new charging stations are to be created this year with a 500 million dollar investment. Reuters quotes two former employees as saying that this sum is well below the original budget for 2024. It is unclear whether some of those made redundant will also be rehired to coordinate the further expansion of the charging network. Bloomberg reported this week that Tesla had started doing just that. Max de Zegher, director of Tesla’s charging business in North America, is said to be among the people who have been brought back. However, this is unlikely to be the case for Rebecca Tinucci. Until last week, she listed her position on LinkedIn as “Sr Director of EV Charging at Tesla”. However, she confirmed her resignation there a few days ago.

Meanwhile, there is a “sign of life” from the Supercharger division on social media. After a long period of silence, the following post was published a few days ago: “Since 2012, charging has been a pillar of Tesla’s mission to provide reliable freedom of travel. Supercharging is the largest network in the world, with the highest capital and operational efficiencies, and we will continue to support and grow the network. We thank operators and suppliers for their patience while we reorganise internally!”

Lately, things have been somewhat awkward under the Tesla umbrella. The company presented declining sales and business figures for the first quarter. Shortly before this, it was announced that Tesla was making more than 14,000 employees redundant at short notice, including entire teams working on “critical projects”. At the same time, several top managers resigned. Tesla’s Head of Engineering Drew Baglino confirmed his resignation in a social media post, as did the previous Head of Policy Rohan Patel. According to Electrek, Anthony Thurston, Senior Manager of Cathode Materials & Manufacturing, also had to leave.



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